Jennifer Sturgis is the January 2016 Employee of the Month

Jennifer Sturgis, assistant director of academic planning and research operations for the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, has a long history of service to George Mason University. She is being recognized for her efforts with the January 2016 Employee of the Month award.

Sturgis was Krasnow’s first staff member during the institute’s infancy. She oversaw the construction of the institute’s new research wings, and has been involved in nearly every area of its operations and administration. While she tackles an array of daily logistical and administrative challenges, Sturgis is also instrumental in overseeing research operations for often sensitive experiments being conducted in the labs at Krasnow.

Her long history with the organization makes her a ready source of institutional knowledge and guidance, as well as an inspiration for co-workers. Stuart Mackenzie, manager of administrative operations for the institute, said Sturgis is invariably the person faculty, staff and students turn to first, no matter what problem they’ve encountered.

“On the rare occasions she takes a vacation day,” Mackenzie said, “I worry that the building will cease to function in her absence!”

Taking creative problem-solving to new levels, Sturgis uses her inventive talents to make the most of Krasnow’s resources. For instance, she designed and built moveable stands for students to display their scientific posters by using plastic buckets, PVC pipes and cement, saving the institute hundreds of dollars in purchase and rental fees.

“She’s always looking for ways to save the institute money,” said Carolyn Payne, executive assistant to the director at Krasnow. “For example, she thought the cost of the paper towel dispensers that we needed in the labs was too much, so she worked on a prototype which she then reproduced for each of the labs.”

Payne also noted Sturgis’ commitment to her fellow employees, describing her as an always supportive and caring team player.

“On one of my first days at the institute, I was assigned a project that kept me at the office well into the evening,” Payne recalled. “Jennifer graciously offered to stay and help me finish the assignment, and she has been there for me ever since.”

Sturgis will be formally presented with this award by George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera in his office on the fifth floor of Merten Hall at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Her family, co-workers and friends are all encouraged to attend the ceremony.